5 Ways to Prevent Workers’ Compensation Fraud

Consider this scenario:

Joe works in the body shop for a Michigan auto dealer. Unfortunately, an unexpected family emergency caused Joe to rack up significant debt, and look for extra cash to pay his monthly bills. On top of this, Joe strains his back on the job and needs to go to a doctor.

Joe’s told by a fellow worker that he should visit a “friendly” doctor on their insurance plan that might be able to help him with his back … and his other problem too. After seeing the doctor his friend recommends, Joe is deemed unfit for work for two weeks; and two weeks after that, and yet again for an injury that should have taken a fraction of the time to resolve.  By the time he’s cleared to go back to work, Joe had enough money to pay off his bills and the “friendly” doctor racked up thousands in service fees.

This scenario is made up – Joe doesn’t exist. However, while rare, workers compensation fraud can make a very real impact on your bottom line. 

Here are five ways that you can prevent fraud from happening to you:

  • Promote a fraud-free workplace
    Educate your employees regularly about safety and workers’ compensation. You can avoid misconceptions by explaining what it is, how it functions and your zero-tolerance stance against fraud.
  • Use sound hiring practices
    Consider background checks as a regular part of your hiring process. Ask for explanations about any red flags that pop up on the check such as frequent job changes or moves, or other questions that arise from the publicly available information. 
  • Have a well-communicated plan in place for action in the event of an injury
    This helps ensure that if an injury happens employees have a practiced routine to secure any medical aid for the worker if necessary, and document precisely what happened as quickly as possible. Part of your plan might also include trusted predetermined medical providers should an office visit be required.
  • Know the red flags of fraud
    Some indications of fraud include unstable work histories, extensive criminal records and exaggerated details about the incident or symptoms. You can check out additional indications that fraud might be occurring here: Top Signs of Workers’ Comp Fraud.
  • Structure the way for return to work
    Develop and implement a program that brings injured employees back on the job – even if in temporary roles – as early as is safely possible. Communicate often with the injured employee to establish trust, and to get a sense for what’s happening with them. For more steps on bringing injured employees back to work, check out  7 Steps for Getting Injured Employees Back On the Job.